Also Gain Jorge Flores and Lose Jairo Munoz
The Winter Meetings ended today with the Rule 5 draft. The draft came in two phases, the major league portion when the selected player must stay on the major league roster all year, and the minor league portion where eligible players not on the AAA roster (not the same one you can see by going to IronPigs site) can be selected and just kept. The Phillies protected 11 prospects from the major league phase last month, but were widely expected to lose someone today. With a full 40 man roster the Phillies were also expected to not select anyone in the draft either.
The Phillies did lose someone in the draft in AAA LHP Hoby Milner. Milner was the Phillies 7th round pick in the 2012 draft. A former reliever in college the Phillies converted him to starting where he had moderate success before moving back to the bullpen in 2015. Milner had a bit of a breakout this year when the Phillies lowered his arm slot even more, and he struck out 76 in 65 innings across AA and AAA with a 2.49 ERA. Milner's fastball tops out at 91 and his future is probably as a LOOGY. Milner likely would have gotten an invite to major league spring training and would have had a shot to see the big leagues with the Phillies this year. However, with all the players needing protecting, losing a fringe relief prospect is a small loss for the Phillies given who else was left exposed.
The AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft is littered with failed prospects and minor league depth. In the first round the Phillies filled one of their biggest organizational needs by selecting 25 year old SS Jorge Flores from the Blue Jays. Flores hit .211/.280/.286 last season including .187/.260/.242 in AA at age 24 (he did hit .276/.360/.347 at AA the previous year). Right now the Phillies shortstop depth in AA and AAA is J.P. Crawford and maybe a not ready Malquin Canelo. Flores is a very good fielder and could play everyday at AA waiting for Canelo, or could just be a defensive replacement somewhere in the high minors.
The Phillies did lose RHP Jairo Munoz in the AAA phase. Munoz was the subject of a 3 part series by Mike Sielski last winter. His comeback story is really interesting as is his upside. Munoz is 25 years old, 6'5" and fairly skinny, and also has a fastball that has been clocked up to 98 mph. He also only pitched 9 innings this season as arm injuries plagued him all year. If he can get healthy he may have a bright future, but he had just become buried in the Phillies system.
In other Rule 5 news, Independent League Player of the Year and former Phillies prospect Art Charles was signed by the Reds this offseason and then selected by the Brewers in the AAA phase.
In general this went as well as the Phillies could have hoped. They severely limited their 40 man roster flexibility, but managed to not lose any prospects of note. The biggest beneficiary is Andrew Pullin who could go to AA or AAA and hit his way into the Phillies plans as they look for long term corner outfielders.
2016-12-07T18:52:17-05:00Why the Phils would be wise to hold onto Odubel Herrera for the foreseeable future. The Chicago White Sox just fleeced the Washington Nationals. We watched it. We all saw it. It happened right in front of our eyes. The Washington Nationals, in a pure desperation, win-now mode move, acquired a very good outfielder in Adam Eaton. Eaton is a six-win player under team control for another six seasons at 28 years old. It’s likely Washington will plug him in at the top of the lineup and make him their everyday center fielder for the next few seasons. That’s a very nice new toy to have. But in grabbing Eaton, general manager Mike Rizzo appeared to massively overpay, sending one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, Lucas Giolito, as well as two other very good young arms in Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning, to Chicago in exchange for Eaton. That deal has gotten everyone in Phillies Twitter-land excited about the potential haul their own center fielder, All-Star Odubel Herrera, could bring back to the Phils should GM Matt Klentak decide to make him available. Make no mistake, there are no untouchables on this team. Every Phillie could be had for the right price. But it seems as though, based on the Eaton news, many Phils fans want the team to get aggressive in marketing Herrera to other GMs. I’m going the opposite way here, kids. The Nationals are in a situation where they have two years of contention left. Bryce Harper is leaving that team as a free agent after 2018. So their motivation to deal is greater than most, hence the overpay for Eaton. If you already have a very good young center fielder, one who is 24 years old and, in his first two seasons has a slash line of .291/.353/.419 with 23 homers, a wRC+ of 111 and a combined fWAR of 7.8, why wouldn’t you want to keep him? Wouldn’t you want to build your team around that guy? Take a look at the numbers from Eaton’s last two seasons and Herrera’s first two seasons in MLB, and remember that, prior to last year, Herrera had never played a single game above AA ball. Eaton has been the better, more consistent player the last two seasons, but he’s also slightly less than four years older than Herrera. And Herrera is an above average defensive center fielder, worth 6 defensive runs saved last season while playing every game in center. Eaton played just 45 games in center in 2016 and 113 games in right field. The year before he was worth -14 DRS in center and was at -2 last season, although he was an excellent defender in right. Oh hey, and look where Herrera stands among qualified MLB center fielders over the last two years. .@FelskeFiles In a word, yes. pic.twitter.com/oeeqwki2At— Michael Stubel (@MichaelStubel) December 7, 2016 So, “not currently inclined” could still mean he comes here at some point but whatevs. If he does come over next year, the Phillies will certainly have the roster space and the payroll flexibility to pay Otani whatever he wants. Unfortunately, I just don’t see how Otani fits for the Phils, or any National League team, for that matter. Otani’s value lies in his ability to be a game-changing starting pitcher AND a force at the plate. He is one of Japan’s best pitchers AND best sluggers, and while it’s fair to wonder if he would be as effective in the Majors doing both, it is his ability to have a dramatic impact in both areas that makes him so intriguing. In Japan, Otani is the DH on those three days in between starts. He did play outfield until he injured his ankle on defense back in 2013. Since then, he has strictly been a designated hitter on the days he hasn’t pitched. How likely is it, then, that he’s going to play the outfield on the three days he doesn’t pitch for a National League team? Not very. Otani hasn’t said it publicly, but I can’t imagine he won’t want to continue being a two-way player in the Majors. It’s doubtful he’s going to want to be a pitcher only. And if that’s the case, he’s probably only going to go to a team that has t[...]
2016-12-06T09:32:10-05:00The Phillies quietly mutter “shut up” to everyone asking for bullpen help. As society shuts down for the MLB Winter Meetings from December 4-8, we are all metaphorically starving for news - unlike our families, who are literally starving as we sacrifice paychecks for Phillies roster updates. "Please," beg our children, who are now British street urchins for some reason. "Just a spot 'o gruel to tide us over." "You will get nothing until a deal is made," we growl back, also now British. It's good news for made-up 19th-century children everywhere, then, as the Phillies have signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. After a full night of muttering that the deal was being done, the Phillies have reportedly pulled the trigger, striking a $7.5 million, one-year accord that will give them options beyond those we grew sick of seeing in 2016. Benoit is a 38-year-old veteran who, since making his disastrous debut in 2001, has appeared in every MLB season except for 2009, when he was recovering from surgery to fix his ripped rotator cuff. His career numbers - 3.79 ERA, 2.44 SO/W, 1.232 WHIP, 17.7 WAR - show a talented hurler who has served in several late-inning roles (He had a 1.34 ERA in 63 appearances with the Rays in 2010, dang). Benoit’s most recent season, split almost perfectly between the Mariners and, after a trade deadline deal for Drew Storen, the Blue Jays, was far more pleasant on the back-end. Playoff-bound Toronto got their money’s worth, as Benoit appeared in 25 games, threw 23.2 innings of relief, and allowed only a single earned run (a farewell solo shot by David Ortiz in mid-September), nine walks, and 24 strikeouts. This, compared to the 5.18 ERA he put up with Seattle, must have been a wondrous surprise to the Jays, until September 26. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5Cd7Yaoiwys" frameborder="0"> The result of the questionable scrappiness of a Toronto squad headed to the post season was the loss of Benoit, one of their most effective pitchers, to a torn calf muscle as he rushed out of the pen to help beat up the Yankees. Dumb. In any case, Benoit was lost for the rest of season. As we publish or exit interviews for the 2016 season here on The Good Phight, we find ourselves repeating a lot of negative trends among the Phillies’ lesser bullpen arms - your Michael Mariot’s, Colton Murray’s, Dalier Hinjosa’s, etc. A profoundly veteran presence out there coming off of a stellar half-season of playoff-pushing (followed by an unfortunate muscle tear) could do well as the Phillies try to stabilize a wobbly bullpen and a young roster - the 2016 Phillies bullpen's ERA for September-October, 7.88, was over two points higher than the second worst (the Rockies, at 5.68). And now back to your far more important off-season matters. .@mike_valori I don't know, but I'm about to say Come to Papa to a chicken parm sandwich — Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) December 3, 2016 [...]
A few weeks ago, Liz Roscher wrote a piece on a snack vendor at Citizens Bank Park, Pistachio Girl, and the PR nightmare that her vocal support of white supremacist politics was for the Phillies organization. It begged the question of how fans were supposed to go to Phillies games knowing that someone like that would be selling them ballpark food.
Now no one has to wonder, because Pistachio Girl has been relieved of her position. Aramark, the company that handles food service and staffing for the Phillies and Citizens Bank Park, fired her last week. Aramark released a statement about the firing to Philly.com.
“A core Aramark value is treating everyone with integrity and respect always. That includes respecting our associates’ right to privacy and dealing with personnel matters confidentially. We can only confirm that the individual asked about is no longer employed after publicly connecting our company to views that contradict our values.”
There was really no chance that Aramark could continue to employ her after she made her beliefs so public, since they’re abhorrent and explicitly against the policies of diversity and inclusion that many companies have in place. Additionally, she was using her position as a somewhat notable Phillies ballpark vendor to amplify her disgusting positions, which was probably extremely problematic for both the Phillies and Aramark.
It is likely that she’ll attempt to pursue legal action (as she has hinted at in the Philly.com piece), but it is unlikely that this will yield any results. As many people so frequently misunderstand, the First Amendment only protects free speech from government persecution. A private company is under no obligation to continue to employ someone who espouses racist, anti-semitic beliefs.
The Good Phight commends Aramark for doing the right thing and not tolerating intolerance.